15 March 2018 – THIS MORNING, residents of Oxfordshire have blockaded the entrance of Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road (PNR) fracking site, in solidarity with communities impacted by climate injustices globally. The action is part of the ongoing resistance led by local protectors against fracking in the area
The group are members of Reclaim the Power (RTP) – an urban-based direct-action network with a long-running relationship of practical solidarity with local protectors in Lancashire. The Oxfordshire-residents positioned themselves in the entrance to the fracking site, using equipment to delay their removal by police or security.
Others held banners reading “Until We Win”, Not Here, Not Anywhere”, and “Keep it in the ground” emphasising RTP’s commitment to resist fracking in Lancashire until the industry is no more. This comes within the fortnight of political and financial turmoil for the emergent fracking industry. Third Energy recently withdrew from their fracking site in North Yorkshire pending a review of its finances, and Cuadrilla’s operations at PNR remain severely delayed with still no production at the site.
Louise Simpson, Oxford resident participating in the blockade, said, “Fracking gas here in Lancashire or anywhere will only worsen the climate crisis at a time when we know all fossil fuels must stay in the ground. RTP will be here until fracking is no more.”
“Impacted communities – mostly poor, predominately in the Global South – are already enduring the effects of climate change from flooding, to drought, to more frequent and severe extreme weather events, leading to food insecurity and forced displacement. It is our responsibility to say ‘no’ to all new fossil fuels, as the local community here in Lancashire have done, and take direct action to ensure that ‘no’ is followed through.”
The blockade comes the day before RTP’s national demonstration at PNR – Jig at the Rig – where hundreds are expected to converge on the fracking site in protest at its continued operation, and in celebration of the local resistance to the emerging fracking industry. The family-friendly demo takes place between 8am and 6pm – the site’s working hours – on 16 March and is open to all.
Henry Belcher, another member of the blockade, said, “We take this action as a last resort, in solidarity with communities leading the resistance to fracking and wider fossil fuel extraction locally and globally. From fracking in Lancashire, to oil pipelines across North America, and coal mining from Colombia to Vietnam, local communities are saying ‘no’ to new fossil fuel infrastructure, but are systematically ignored by the fossil fuel industry, banks and governments who use violence to repress them.”
“Despite repression including imprisonment of local protectors and growing assassinations targeting environmental defenders globally, especially Indigenous Peoples, the climate justice movement is led by those impacted first and worst by extraction and its effects despite the risks of taking action. Communities most proximate to fossil fuel extraction deserve a democratic say over how their land is used and how their energy is produced. There will be no climate justice without land rights and energy democracy. No climate justice without Indigenous sovereignty. No climate justice without global solidarity.”
Contact: Annie Pickering p: 07708988714
- About Reclaim the Power: https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/who-we-are/
- About the Rolling Resistance: https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/fracking/rolling-resistance-2017/
- Third Energy withdraw amid financial worries: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/fracking/anti-fracking-camp-to-close-in-kirby-misperton-as-campaigners-declare-victory-over-impossible-odds-1-9044469
- Delays to Cuadrilla fracking: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/06/11/cuadrillas-cuts-costs-stem-losses-shale-project-faces-opposition/
- Climate injustice: http://novaramedia.com/2015/12/07/6-reasons-we-need-an-intersectional-approach-to-climate-change/
- Details of Jig at the Rig demo: https://www.facebook.com/events/2269046146454497/
- Guardian’s reporting on the assassinations of environmental defenders: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2017/jul/13/the-defenders-tracker
Photos of the action available here (to be added to throughout the day): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ujkPLhex5wRzkjo5DE6JXZN9MO_2AydX